Death toll in Afghanistan mosque bombings jumps to 76
AP Photo/Rahmat Gul
The death toll in the Shiite mosque attack in Kabul has jumped to 56, officials said Saturday, as the Afghan capital reels from the latest deadly violence.
"The toll from yesterday's Imam Zaman mosque attack has increased to 56 killed, including women and children, and 55 wounded," an interior ministry spokesman told AFP.
Officials had previously put the number of dead at 39 and 45 wounded in the attack claimed by the Islamic State group, which belongs to the rival Sunni branch of Islam.
The lone suicide attacker struck as worshipers gathered for evening prayer on Friday at the mosque in a heavily Shiite neighborhood in the west of the city.
It was one of two deadly mosque attacks in the country on Friday, capping one of the bloodiest weeks in Afghanistan in recent memory.
The second assault happened in the impoverished and remote province of Ghor where a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing 20 and wounding 10 others, the interior ministry said.
People expressed anger at the government's inability to protect its citizens in the Afghan capital, which accounted for nearly 20 percent of the country's civilian deaths in the first half of the year.
A bloody week
The attacks cap one of the bloodiest weeks in Afghanistan in recent memory, with more than 120 people killed and hundreds more wounded in four separate Taliban attacks on police and military bases.
In three of the attacks Taliban militants used bomb-laden Humvees stolen from Afghan government forces to blast their way into targets, as militants step up direct attacks on security installations.
In recent years, the Taliban and IS jihadists have repeatedly targeted the minority Shiite community, who number around three million in overwhelmingly Sunni Afghanistan.
The last attack on a Shiite mosque in Kabul happened on September 29 as Muslims prepared to commemorate Ashura, one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar.
Six people were killed when a suicide bomber posing as a shepherd blew himself up near Hussainia mosque, one of the biggest Shiite centers in the city, as worshipers gathered for Friday prayers.
An attack on another Shiite mosque in the city on August 25 killed 28 people and wounded around 50 others.
Four attackers who set off explosions and fired gunshots laid siege to the mosque in the north of the capital for four hours as dozens of men, women, and children had gathered for Friday prayers.
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